Ontological Diversifications: Greening Domestic Violence and Abuse studies on Companion Animals

This is Di Turgoose and Ruth McKie’s 4th blog post of six on pets and domestic abuse. This post focuses on the national reach of their work in the summer of 2019 at the British Criminological Society Annual Conference which was held in June 2019.

We were invited to contribute an academic paper to the Green Criminology panel ‘on deviance and social control in an age of ecological disorganisation’ on our work on pets and domestic abuse at the annual British Society of Criminology (BSC) conference. You can access their website here https://www.britsoccrim.org/conference/2019-bsc-annual-conference/. The conference is the highlight of the criminologist’s calendar for the year in the UK, with delegates travelling from across the world to attend. This invite to present provided us with a national platform to discuss our work. 

Commonly in the discipline of criminology, domestic abuse and animal abuse have been regarded as a separate subject area/domain of concern/study. Green criminologists have focused predominantly on the animal abuse area. As a result, we relished the opportunity of presenting to our audience which consisted of ‘green criminologists’ – researchers more familiar with concepts of speciesism and transforming our understanding of human-animal relationships in criminology – but who are not necessarily experts in the field of domestic abuse.

You can access our green criminology panel presentation which was entitled Ontological Diversifications: Greening Domestic Violence and Abuse studies on companion animals.  Protection, Prevention and Intervention here https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/18202

Our paper utilised a common model within Domestic Violence studies: The Power and Control Wheel, (see Pence and Paymar in Johnson 2008). We argued that the concept of denial of agency is equally applicable to the underexplored area of pets as hidden victims of domestic abuse. We incorporated perspectives from eco-feminism and green criminology literature to challenge speciesism within domestic abuse studies and practice.  In doing so, we proposed a theoretical and ontological diversification within the field of domestic abuse studies, to help give voice to non-humans as independent agents that experience domestic abuse.

We were contacted by other academics concerned with animals as victims per se both after our immediate presentation and subsequently after our contribution was made a focus of the launch of the green criminology research group by the British Criminology society. We also appeared in the research groups inaugural research newsletter, which you can access here  https://spark.adobe.com/page/3iAGYUB92vdcK/

At the time of writing we have subsequently been granted ethical approval for an empirical mixed methods study to progress our work in this area in 2020. 

Dr Ruth E. McKie is a Senior Lecturer in the Community & Criminal Justice Division at DMU. Ruth’s PhD explored climate change denial & criminology.  She is subject expert in Environmental Crime & Harm, researching various crimes e.g. environmental crime & animal abuse. Contact Ruth on ruth.mckie@dmu.ac.uk or via twitter  @ruthmckie1

Di Turgoose is a Teacher Fellow & Senior Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Sciences at DMU.  She is a pracademic with 20 years work experience in the Criminal Justice System with perpetrators & victims of crime.  She is subject expert in domestic abuse for the MOJ. Contact Di at di.turgoose@dmu.ac.uk or via twitter @pracademiccrime

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If you would like to write a blog for the SVDV Research Network please contact Di Turgoose at di.turgoose@dmu.ac.uk in the first instance